Complacency to Competency: Winning Steps to Transformation

by buildingpharmabrands

The eternal question in performance management is how can you ensure sustainable superior performance? How can you improve the performances of average and below average performers and sustain those improvements over time. A change in performance for the better can occur only when there is a change in behavior. The behavior that is responsible for poor performance needs to be changed first and only then improvement in performance is possible. Complacency leads to poor performance and competency when applied to the job on hand results in superior performance.


If complacency is not a word but a real person in flesh and blood like you and me, what kind of a person would complacency be? Male or female? What would be the age? How would the person dress? Talk? Walk? Go about work? Can you visualize the person and describe that person’s behavior if he were a medical representative? Field sales manager? Regional sales manager? consider these behaviors for example:

Not very enthusiastic; not very confident; not very energetic; inadequate product knowledge; inadequate communication skills; inadequate customer knowledge; irregular reporting; infrequent feedback; low level of concern for performance; low level of self-esteem; low level of interest in self development; low level of assertiveness bordering on submissiveness; always slow to react, never proactive, does not take initiative.


Now can you picture how  ‘competency’ would look like and behave like if it were not a word but a person?

Enthusiastic; Confident; Energetic; Sound product knowledge; very good communication skills; Thorough customer knowledge; Prompt in reporting; Regular feedback; high concern for performance; High level of self worth; Invests personal time and money in self development; Assertive; Proactive


For achieving sustainable superior performance what is needed is a transformation from complacency to competency. How do we do that? How long does transformation take? The transformation process should start here and now. The process does not take time. It is rather instantaneous. The results may take a little longer. This is because the process of transformation is a mindset issue. It is decision to change one’s behavior on the job. It is decision to change our thinking about  and on the job. That should not take time at all. Say for example, if I want to be prompt in reporting I can be prompt right from the moment I take the decision to be prompt. There is no one who is standing between my decision or my ability to implement that decision other than me. That is why behavior change is always instantaneous. I have to decide to change and transform my complacency behavior pattern into competency behavior pattern. I have to invest my time and effort to change that and commit myself to that.

What will I gain when I change my complacency behavior to competency behavior? Visualize the possible gains when you change your behavior. Consider these for example:

A. Improvement in confidence leads to improved performance

B. Improvement in performance leads to increased earnings, happiness, and social recognition and personal growth

C. The achievement orientation on the job would have a positive rub-off effect on the entire family with you becoming a role model in the family and friends’ circles

D. A high degree of customer rapport transforms the burden of work into joy of working

How To Transform

Firstly, let us rate ourselves before we begin the process on all key success factors that are critical to pharma selling and sales management. Secondly, let us identify our strengths and improvement areas on each of these factors and identify where we stand today and set objectives in terms of where we need to go and should go. Thirdly, once we identify and prioritize our areas of reinforcement and improvement, let us set an improvement objective against each area in the next six weeks and decide what each one of us will do to achieve these objectives. Let us monitor the progress against our objectives on a regular basis. In six weeks it is possible to transform, nay, metamorphose into a competent, vibrant team. Even caterpillars metamorphose into beautiful butterflies in six weeks!